"Embarrassing for SFU": Staff, students petition for return of mask mandate

Mar 16 2022, 7:27 pm

A petition to mandate masks inside at Simon Fraser University has been signed by hundreds of people, including students, instructors, assistants, and admin. 

It asks the university to take a stronger stance by making everyone keep their mask on while they’re inside — until April 26 at least.

The University of British Columbia decided to keep its mask mandate until the winter semester is over, while SFU only “encourages” mask-wearing. 

“Kudos to UBC for being a leader in this, but it is embarrassing for SFU to not follow suit,” says the petition’s description.

“Our province today was given less than a day’s notice of the dropping of the indoor mask requirement. Students did not sign up for in-person courses this semester anticipating that they would be thrown into environments where they’d be stuck shoulder-to-shoulder for hours-long lectures or tutorials next to someone unmasked.” 

Some students are worried about bringing Omicron home to an immunocompromised family member. Others are immunocompromised themselves and are afraid to go to school with peers who aren’t wearing masks.

“Mask-wearing is still proven to be an effective layer of protection and since we have already been engaging in this policy all semester, why not continue to do so until the end of final exams in April?” the petition says.

It goes on to say that people can still do whatever they want outside on campus, masks optional.

“Learning to live with this virus should not mean pretending it’s over; it should mean that we keep simple, universal basic protections in places where they keep us safe and provide a predictable plan that we can work towards and anticipate,” it says.

The creator of the petition is a graduate student, teaching assistant, and someone “suffering from long COVID who wishes to not see anyone else experience such symptoms.”

They know it’s been difficult to deal with public health restrictions over the past two years but are asking their community for patience and solidarity.

“I want to return to a ‘normal’ just like all of you reading this — but only once there is confidence beyond reasonable doubt that it will be safe for all,” they wrote. 

“There are significant benefits to mutual masking and protecting vulnerable members of the SFU community and their family members.” 

One assistant professor at SFU tweeted saying they felt like SFU didn’t care about them when they said masks were optional indoors.

And another teacher backed them up in the comments of the petition, saying, “I’m an SFU instructor and it’s just common sense to continue to protect those with compromised immune systems. No one should be forced to learn or work while afraid.”

At 11 am on March 16, the petition had 378 signatures. Their next goal is to reach 500. 

Want to stay in the loop with more Daily Hive content and News in your area? Check out all of our Newsletters here.
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Aly LaubeAly Laube

+ News
+ Coronavirus